Earlier this year, Google introduced a new feature for the Android version of Google Maps. This is how Google describes it: “In Google Maps, you can ask and answer questions about the places and business you see. Business owners and others can respond to these Q&As directly.” Very nice feature for the users of Google Maps, right? In my view, it indeed is – but there are some important and potentially problematic aspects of it that both the users of Google Maps and the owners of businesses shown on Google Maps are completely unaware of. Continue reading
When my favourite chat app (used by myself and over a billion other people) figures out all by itself when to use autocomplete and when not to use it, then I will be impressed by machine learning, artificial intelligence, or whatever term you prefer to use. At this moment its performance is nowhere near what I consider to be genuinely intelligent, as it is even unable to figure out which language I am chatting in (although the language of the chat sessions typically depends on the person I am chatting with, so that should be a solid hint for a so-called intelligent system). Obviously I can Continue reading
What is it with all these concerns about privacy? As I am spending quite a bit of my time in Germany, and even more because I am working for a German company operating in the IT security space, I am confronted with privacy related issues on a regular basis. But still I fail to see what the problem is.
Have all these people so much to hide that they need to be concerned about whatever they are hiding getting exposed to the party they want to hide it from? (Most likely I imagine that to be either the tax administration or the cheated wife – in the first case: please stop using the public roads that I, but not you, have been paying for; don’t call the fire brigade if your house is on fire, but try putting out the fire yourself; and when you unfortunately have to spend some time in the hospital, pay the full bill yourself). Continue reading
Amazon hates Belgium. Or at least that is the conclusion I’m inclined draw after having been an Amazon customer for quite a few years now. On several occasions I’ve come across services Amazon is offering that sound really great to me, only to find out – a numbers of steps into the signing up process – that the service is not available in Belgium, the country I spend most of my time in.
Now, I do understand that Belgium will never be Continue reading
It’s often claimed that there’s no such thing as a free lunch, but still – espcially and increasingly in this digital age – we are daily using en masse products and services that we consider to be free. Or at least where we don’t have to part with some of our dearly beloved money in exchange for the right to use those products or services. Some examples from the digital world include social media, like Facebook and Twitter; e-mail services, like Gmail or Hotmail (yes, I know, the consumer version is also called Outlook now, but everyone still refers to it as Hotmail); free antivirus; free search engines, like Bing or of course Google; free return shipments for online orders; free wifi in hotels, bars, etc.